There is often a lot of discussion about weight as you grow older. There are those who cling to the idea that gaining weight is a natural part of aging, while others believe this is not so.
What are the facts?
Let’s have a look at the myths, misconceptions – and the facts, regarding weight and aging. Here are 10 ways to find out what you know, and how much of it is fact or fiction:
- It’s better to be thinner as you get older. This is not completely true. Some seniors do become thinner and weaker as they age, mainly due to ill health. Overweight also has health risks, but you want to be healthy – not frail. A healthy lifestyle, a good diet, and regular exercise, will help you to prevent unnecessary muscle loss.1
- Gaining weight is inevitable when you age. This is not correct. You can keep your weight under control, but it will involve adjusting your portions as you become less active than before, and you burn less calories than you are taking in. It may not be easy, but if you stay active and eat less, age need not result in weight gain.2
- The metabolism begins to slow down in the late twenties. Yes, this is true. Research has shown that starting in the late twenties, you burn around 150 calories less per day, if you are not active. The main reason is that from that age the body starts to change shape, and inactivity may result in more fat than muscle in strategic places. But it is not your metabolism’s fault if you pack on the pounds. Eating too much in the main reason for gaining weight no matter how old you are.3
- If you are not very active you should eat fewer calories if you are over the age of 50. This is a fact, but the number of calories you eat each day, always depends on how active you are. A woman who is inactive should eat about 1600 calories per day to maintain her weight, while someone who is moderately active, should eat about 1800, to keep up muscle mass. A man with a sedentary lifestyle should eat no more than about 1900 calories per day, while someone who is moderately active can go up to around 2200 per day to maintain strength.4
- Menopause makes women gain weight. Fiction! Menopause begins in the late 40’s or early 50’s, which coincidentally is the same age women start to gain weight. This is not as a result of menopause, but more a lack of exercise, a slower burning of calories, and less muscle mass, which has actually turned into fat. This is also why, during menopause, there is often a shift in a woman’s body shape. Known as hormonal spread, it is not a weight gain as such. Keep exercising to keep bulges under control – and eat less! 5
- Sarcopenia is a serious disease. Firstly, if you have never heard of Sarcopenia, it is the medical term for serious muscle loss during aging – and NO, it is not a disease. It can affect your weight if you become less active and your muscles turn to flab. Hormonal changes and poor nutrition also contribute to Sarcopenia. Fix it with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.6
- Your sense of taste may fade with age. This is very true. Some older folk seem to lose their appetites, and don’t enjoy food as much as they used to. Studies have indicated that this may be because the sense of smell and taste are not what they used to be. If you are caring for a senior, or even just taking care of yourself, make sure to prepare tasty, aromatic meals to stimulate your appetite.7
- The slimmer you are when you age, the more energetic you will be. Pure fiction! These things are not achieved by losing weight. If you are obese, losing weight will lower your risk of certain illnesses, but if you are of normal weight, unnecessary loss of weight might lead to muscle loss, and possible frailty. Improved health and more energy will come from a nutritious diet, and regular exercise.8
- Stress can make you put on weight. Yes, this is true, but applies to everyone, not only to those growing older. Stress affects the body’s ability to properly process food and absorb nutrients. It can also can also cause you to eat badly, and often promotes overeating. The older you get, the more responsibilities you may have on your plate, leading to increased stress. Other problems also arise, like hypertension, heart disease, and a general lack of desire to exercise, which may lead to more muscle loss.
- Once your muscle mass starts to go, you cannot stop it. Absolutely not true! Even rebuilding muscle is possible.10 The best way to handle it is to stop muscle loss in its tracks, or at least slow it down to dead-slow. Here’s how you can do it: 11
- Eat less of the bad stuff, and more of the good nutritious stuff.
- Get some regular exercise, join a gym which caters for all levels of fitness and age groups, and get busy exercising to the level you are comfortable with.
- Stop acting old and telling yourself you are old. You are what you think you are, and old is only a word. If you are not enthusiastic enough to manage aging, you will never get the results you desire, and may just end up accepting old age without a fight.
Age is a mental game, and to make the best of it, you need to cultivate a positive mindset whether you are 50 or 90.
We can help
In order for your body to function at its full potential as you age, it needs to produce sufficient levels of hormones. Certain hormones decline as one grows older, leading to unpleasant symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, and even lack of sexual interest. At Renew Health and Wellness, we offer bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT, for both men and women, which are natural hormones exactly the same as those made in the body. Side effects are minimal when the correct dosage is achieved. Contact us at www.renewmetoday.com to take the hormone health test and see how we can help you.